Release of 300,000 marron soured by DPIRD blocking stocking of Harvey Dam

The RFIF-funded marron stocking program recently reached its target of seeing 300,000 marron released into popular south-west dams, with another huge release.

In April, the team from Aquafarms released more than 220,000 one-year-old marron between the waters of Waroona Dam and Logue Brook Dam, taking the total number of marron stocked into our south-west impoundments over the last two years to a staggering 300,000!

However, this great news for WA’s 10,000 licensed marron fishers has been soured by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) last-minute decision to block stocking of marron into Harvey Dam.

Premier McGowan releasing marron into Harvey Dam at the start of the RFIF project in December 2019. No more marron were stocked into the dam subsequently after DPIRD blocked it.

When Premier McGowan and the then Fisheries Minister launched the program helping to release several hundred marron into Harvey Dam in December 2019, it was because Harvey Dam was considered the primary stocking location for this project given its position as one of WA’s favourite marroning spots.

At the start of the program, DPIRD raised concerns that collecting many breeding animals from Harvey Dam for the project could impact on recreational fishing experiences. DPIRD’s preferred approach was for breeding animals to be primarily sourced from commercial aquaculture operations.

However, around a month before stocking Harvey Dam with animals that were one year old, DPIRD informed Recfishwest that, as the broodstock animals had not originated from Harvey Dam, approval to stock them there would not be provided. This rationale, however, did not apply to Logue Brook or Waroona Dams.

“Bureaucracy gone mad”

When asked to clarify this decision, DPIRD gave the following response:

“During the course of the project significant changes occurred, including where the marron were sourced from. DPIRD, in balancing best outcomes for the marron fishery (including genetic diversity) with ensuring the project could be delivered, determined that it would not be appropriate to allow stocking of commercial-line marron to Harvey Dam.”

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell said DPIRD’s decision to shift the goalposts at the eleventh hour was an example of government “bureaucracy gone mad.”

“While DPIRD didn’t want the project to use broodstock from Harvey Dam, they also wouldn’t allow Harvey Dam to be stocked unless it was with offspring from Harvey Dam marron,” he said. “This Catch-22 scenario would make for a good episode of ‘Utopia’, but it is not the sort of actions Recfishwest expect from a government department that took pride in its once excellent reputation for fisheries management.”

Some of the 300,000 marron being released into Logue Brook Dam last year as part of the RFIF project to stock dams in the South West – except the region’s premier marron fishery due to a decision made by DPIRD at the eleventh hour.

DPIRD’s rationale for refusing to allow stocking of Harvey Dam is largely based on findings from a two-decade old research project that concluded marron in the Harvey River were a fast-growing strain that had potential to improve marron production in commercial farms.

Click here to see the 2007 research projects findings DPIRD used to justify blocking marron stocking in Harvey Dam 

What DPIRD has failed to adequately consider is the same research showed the Harvey River marron strain had low levels of survival, extremely low breeding success and any ‘fast’ growing traits couldn’t be incorporated into commercial breeding programs, something confirmed in subsequent research in 2015.

In addition, for more than a decade, the commercial marron industry has undertaken mass selected breeding programs and the growth of commercial marron now exceeds the growth of this ‘fast’ growing marron strain.

DPIRD urged to get on board and back the vision of year-round marroning

“Like us marron fishers are going to be very disappointed that DPIRD at the eleventh hour have used decades old research to refuse stocking in Harvey Dam. The marron that were not allowed to be stocked in Harvey Dam reach trophy-size quicker, have better survival and have better reproduction – it seems ridiculous to not use them to help improve recreational fishing experiences in the premier marroning location of a recreational-only fishery.

“The Premier announcing this project on location at Harvey Dam in 2019 should have sent a strong signal that it was an important project for the Government and that government departments should ‘get on board’ and help make it happen.”

Leyland added while the last-minute refusal to allow stocking of Harvey Dam will reduce the quality of outcomes from the project and may push back the dream of year-round marron fishing, it should not detract from the fact that for the first time a large-scale marron stocking program has successfully been undertaken.

“We can only hope that when future projects designed to develop our freshwater fisheries are put forward, such as enhancing barren impoundment habitats or stocking alternatives to trout in the face of a drying climate, DPIRD chose to help rather than hinder,” said Leyland.

Recfishwest will continue to pursue the dream of year-round marroning

Northern mulloway – Here for a hard fight, not a long fight

Also known as black jewfish, northern mulloway are renowned for their fighting qualities and with good reason.

Protonibea diacanthus

Eating: 3 stars

ID – Wedge-shaped tail.

Often found around inshore structure such as reefs, northern mulloway will head straight for cover when hooked and boast plenty of power, certainly more than their southern cousins, provided by a strong tail wrist.

Northern mulloway have plenty of power, largely due to their strong tail wrist.

They can grow to more than 1.5 metres long and weigh up to 40 kilos, at which size they would take a lot of stopping.

They can be found in up to 60m of water, including in estuaries where they will hold in deep holes, but research from the Northern Territory has shown they release poorly in anything but the shallowest of water and this needs to be considered if the fish is not to be kept for the table.

They are usually found from Onslow north and around the top end to Rockhampton in Queensland. However, I have seen them caught in Exmouth Gulf in good sizes.

We had a fun day chasing them in the Gulf a few years ago, and I was surprised by how many we hooked. While they can be found throughout the Kimberley and are usually an incidental catch, Broome’s Roebuck Bay would be one of the most consistent spots, with fish often taken around the plane wrecks. They are also sometimes taken in the shallows of Roebuck Bay.

Legendary Kimberley guide Bluey Vaughan with a nice black jewfish.

I have also heard of good numbers of fish being caught by jigging near the Horizontal Falls. Solid gear is required to subdue black jewfish and heavy spinning or overhead outfits need to be used to stop the bullocking runs. Line of around 30kg is suggested, along with heavy leader, and fresh baits work well. Live baits or whole fish are best, while squid and cut fish baits will also work.

Running sinker rigs are popular so the fish does not feel any weight initially, but the angler has to react quickly once the hooks are set.

Metal jigs will also work on northern mulloway, as will large soft plastics. On a recent Kimberley trip we got some by dropping soft plastics vibes into snags, similar to tactics for barramundi. Slow trolling large minnow lures has also produced the odd fish in some locations.

Government beach ban – a slap in the face and a taste of things to come?

WA Environment Minister Reece Whitby recently wrote to Recfishwest advising vehicle access to the Hooley Road entrance to Boranup’s South Beach will not be restored after being abruptly closed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) with a boulder blockade in March 2021.

South Beach within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is a popular fishing beach providing shore-access to deep water where fishers can target snapper, mulloway, tailor and salmon.

Recfishwest strongly believes this decision completely ignores something of immense value to the WA fishing community.

“We are constantly told that fishing values, history and ongoing access are key considerations in both land and marine management planning processes,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

“Yet, here is another example of a unilateral decision to simply ban an activity which has been undertaken for generations – driving along the beach to our favourite fishing spots is an important part of our WA culture, it’s part of what makes WA great.”

Hiding behind a flawed management document

Since first publicising this issue in March 2021, Recfishwest has raised the closure with the Director General of DBCA along with Environment Ministers Dawson, Sanderson and Whitby and with Fisheries Minister Punch.

After losing access to South Beach for two salmon seasons, and repeatedly raising this issue at the highest levels of government, the Environment Minister has missed the opportunity to address the issue on behalf of the community and ignored our reasonable calls and suggestions for a compromised approach. Instead, he appears to have been simply led by his department, which itself is hiding behind a management document that is seriously flawed.

Boranup is a popular salmon fishing beach in autumn but 4WD access is crucial to be able to chase the schools.

The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Management Plan said it should be closed in line with its vehicle access plan established in 2015.

Yet, this management plan doesn’t identify any environmental or conservation value that is compromised by allowing vehicles to access South Beach.

In Recfishwest’s view, the restriction on vehicle access to South Beach seems to have more to do with making management easier for DBCA than protecting environmental values or encouraging sustainable use and enjoyment of the environment.

“The disappointing decision by the Minister not to restore a beach access track is a slap in the face for local fishers,” said Andrew.

Despite the beach blocakde debacle, Recfishwest is still urging people to contribute to DBCA’s marine park planning process with public consultation currently taking place on several proposed marine parks as part of the McGowan Government’s Plan for our Parks Initiative.

“While some may say ‘Why bother?’ it is more important than ever that people contribute to these processes, so  that what matters most to fishers is not ignored,” said Andrew. “The State’s recreational fishers deserve better.”

 

Landmark recfishing development plan sets future agenda for Government’s support for fishing in WA

The Fisheries Minister Don Punch has announced a landmark fishing development plan that sets out a roadmap for delivering a set of bold initiatives and actions that will shape fishing in WA over the next three years and beyond.

The WA Recreational Fishing Development Plan is a program for better fishing access, less restrictions and fisheries management focused on positive experiences through initiatives such as more artificial reefs, FADs, jetties, and the development of freshwater fisheries, as well as better data and communications.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WA RECREATIONAL FISHING PLAN IN FULL

The plan – developed with the full support of the Minister and Government – will guide investments that maximise fishing enjoyment all within the boundaries of sustainable fisheries management.

The plan focuses on four key areas outlining specific initiatives

  • Better understanding, capturing and promoting all the benefits recreational fishing provides;
  • Maintaining and improving fishing access for both land and boat-based fishers;
  • Stewardship and leadership of recreational fishing; and
  • Utilising digital technology in an everchanging world.

 

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said “The release of this plan is a great outcome, having ascertained a commitment from the Premier prior to the 2021 election to see this plan implemented.

“At a time of competing priorities for Government, the plan will provide a clear pathway to navigate the challenges of a growing population, improved technology, changes in community expectations, environmental changes and finding the right balance with other stakeholders often with differing views on how our fish are best managed.

“This is a sector-driven plan aligned to the purpose of Recfishwest in representing and delivering outcomes in the best interests of the State’s fishers. This plan will help ensure regulators and agencies understand the needs of our sector and support good outcomes for fishing.

Speaking in Parliament about the plan, Minister Punch said, “Our recfishing agenda is going to be guided by the recfishing plan that Recfishwest is working on and will really guide the priorities for how we support recfishing into the future.”

He added in his media release on the subject, “I look forward to seeing the Government and Recfishwest work together to deliver on this plan over the next three years.”

Winners, winners – salmon slammers bag a heap of fabulous fishing prizes

And the results are in! We have a bunch of worthy winners for our Salmon Slam 2022 competition run in partnership with Western Angler and Shimano.

A massive thank you to all the Salmon Slam participants this year! We’ve have had more than 850 competitors sign up for the competition and  365 entries of salmon into the competition!

And a huge shout-out to all of our sponsors who provided some amazing prizes and to Infofish Australia for their tech support in running the comp – with all of this sensational support and participation, it’s been another great Salmon Slam. But without any further ado…ladies and gentlemen….our winners!

Salmon Slam top prize winner: Chelsea Roney

Chelsea Roney with her son Watt, aged seven, with one of the salmon she caught this year!

“When I got the news I’d won, I was bowled over – I couldn’t be more excited!” – Chelsea Roney

Chelsea Roney received an email while at work informing her that she had won the 2022 Salmon Slam major Shimano prize pack pictured above, for simply entering a salmon into the app-based competition. To say she was super-stoked was an understatement – particularly given all her family are salmon-mad fishers too!

The mother-of-three was the random draw-winner landing a huge Shimano you-beaut salmon fishing package with over $3,000 worth of gear including a top-of-the-line Stella SWC 5000XG, a Shimano Colt Sniper rod, Stradic FL Compact, Maikuro and other amazing products to make her family’s future fishing experiences get to the next level!

Feast your eyes on that! The Shimano goodies that make up the $3,000 major prize pack!

“We love to go out every year during March and April to catch salmon with the family,” she told Recfishwest.

“They’re such a good fish for the family, an absolutely wholesome experience seeing my family all hooked up to salmon and it gets addictive when you land them yourself!”

Chelsea said she was so happy with the prize-pack as she can share the love between the five in her family.

“We either go to Eagle Bay or straight to Albany to chase the salmon said and we’ll be putting all this gear to good use during the next salmon run,” she said. “I’m so happy that we took part in such a great event this year!”

Second draw prize Tim Phillips

The mega salmon fishing pack from Shimano was just for starters.

A Surge Viper  12  Pro Fishing Kayak, kindly donated by Paddlesports Megastore, valued at more than $1,100 was also up for grabs with a random draw seeing it awarded to Tim Phillips, congratulations mate!

Tim Phillips is now the proud owner of a Surge Viper 12 kayak

 

Total length (four fish) winner Liam Ross

Liam Ross not just scooped the final phase win but came out on top as the overall Salmon Slam 2022 competition winner with two 91cm beasts, an 88cm specimen and an 87cm fish totalling more than 3.5m! (3,570mm).!

Turns out it was thanks to one of his mates and the guy who ended up second overall in the total length category, that Liam took part in the Slam in the first place.

“I actually heard about the Salmon Slam competition through Tyson Groom, he basically put me onto this competition and we ended up dueling it out for top spot.”

“He’s been keeping me on my toes for the last few weeks and he almost had me at one point, but I ended up pulling the two big ones out of a salmon school which solidified my spot at the top!”

Unlucky, Tyson! Maybe if he hadn’t told Liam about the competition, he would be the one walking away with some of the prize-goodies which includes an Assassin Fishing Spin Tech 11ft XH rod, an Assassin lure pack worth $200 including CID shiversticks and CID casting poppers! Never mind, Tyson, there’s always next year!

Liam added, “I personally don’t have a boat, so land-based fishing is what I do the most and salmon are one of those fish you just love to catch when you actively target them, they pull hard and they’re up there as the pound-for-pound hardest fighting fish.

“I spent many, many hours, almost every weekend fishing for salmon to win the final phase and get the overall victory…so I felt like I’d earned it and I love that feeling!”

Yes, we agree – Liam has proven to be a worthy winner of both the phase 3 competition and the overall salmon slam competition!

Junior random overall winner Mason Yates

Young gun Mason Yates is absolutely stoked as he won the Junior Random (overall) prize pack netting him an Assassin Fishing lure prize pack, valued at more than $200, including CID Shiversticks and CID Casting Poppers plus more!

Mason Yates, age nine is the lucky winner of the junior random (overall) prize. He absolutely loves fishing for salmon, the chase and the awesome places it takes you!

Best photo overall winner Shannon and Jack Conduit

This photo of Shannon Conduit and his son, Jack Conduit has taken out the Best Photo of the Salmon Slam.

With over 100 photos submitted into the 2022 Salmon Slam’s best photo category there can only be one winner! So many fantastic entries to choose from – but this picture of Shannon Conduit and his son, Jack Conduit, caught the judges’ eye!

For the fantastic image, Shannon and his son won a DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo drone valued at $949. Legendary work!

Is this Western Australia’s biggest salmon ambassador? Best dressed prize winner Geoff Watts

Winner of the phase 1, four longest salmon category, Geoff Watts, has expressed his love for salmon fishing in the first phase article and also shows it through his clothes!

Geoff Watts, entered this epic collage encompassing everything he loves about salmon fishing!

This entry is easily the most unique entry we’ve received! We also think it’s an awesome way to show what he loves about being “on the run!”, the chase, the exploration and the fight! For this he won a Richter Lure prize pack valued at $400 for the best photo of a fisher wearing a Recfishwest salmon fishing shirt!

Phase three winners

As well as Liam taking out the overall length winner,  the adult random category saw keen fisho Jim Kerr netting himself a $200 Angler Fishing World voucher and a $100 Compleat Angler Nedlands voucher.

The junior random category was scooped up by lucky winner Myles Tinneti, winning him a $100 Compleat Angler Nedlands voucher and a $100 Halco Tackle pack.

The final phase saw a few photos entered, however there was only one winner.

Paul Hart one with one of the few salmon he caught this season!

Paul Hart, growing up around the south coast always had a love for salmon fishing. He loves targeting them using lures, stickbaits and metals.

“The thrill of watching a pack of salmon chase a lure on top water is some days unbeatable!” he mentioned.

Scott’s Species – grey mackerel, the lesser known brother of the Spanish mackerel

Broad-barred Spanish mackerel, or more commonly know as grey mackerel compared to their more commonly caught narrow-barred brethren, are an intriguing fish to me! Writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan.

Species: grey mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Small head and pointy snout, large tail and broad stripes down side. Black colouration at front of dorsal fin.

perfect example of a Kimberley grey mackerel

Firstly, while I have caught them in spots where we get narrow-barred many times offshore, I don’t recall ever seeing one caught from shore, although I know other people who have done so.

Secondly, I am not sure what to make of their performance on the end of a line. Last year we have a vintage session on them at Montgomery Reef.

They were smashing baitfish on the surface in the channel and we caught a number on lures.

As has been my experience with broad-bars, they didn’t put up a huge fight although they were good-size fish.

Yet when I posted a picture on social media, someone commented that they liked catching them as they fight so hard.

I have to say my experience has been anything but that, and I am always disappointed by their performance on the end of the line.

Looking much like narrow-barred, but with a more pointy snout and broader sides, they have a large tail that certainly should offer plenty of speed.

Broadies, also called grey mackerel, certainly don’t grow as big as the other spaniards, with a maximum size of around nine kilos.

They are found from Shark Bay north and we have caught plenty around the islands off Carnarvon.

They are a willing lure taker that will respond to all the usual lures used for spaniards, including bibbed minnows, stickbaits and metals, whether trolled or cast.

My friend Andrew Jarvis used to catch them at Quobba’s Camp Rock and said they always responded well to large metals with a wobbling action retrieved quite slowly.

Broad-barred Spanish mackerel are a welcome by-catch off Quobba

I would imagine ballooning would also be an effective way to catch broad-bars at Quobba and Steep Point.

As they don’t grow to huge sizes heavy tackle is not required and quite light spinning gear will be enough to catch them in most scenarios.

We were using 6-10kg outfits at Montgomery Reef and that was more than adequate.

They do have sharp teeth so I would recommend wire if chasing either type of Spanish mackerel, although I have always believed you get more bites without wire.

It’s just the lure losses can start to hurt during a hot session.

Broad-bar generally show up in schools, usually close to reefy structure and drop-offs in 8-20m, in the same locations where narrow-barred mackies are caught.

Casting lures at a bust up produced this Montgomery Reef broad-bar for Neil Pinner.

Record survey response shows just how much you care about west coast demersals

Recfishwest has been extremely pleased with the fishing community’s response to our recent survey seeking views and ideas on new management action to support the continued recovery of pink snapper and dhufish stocks.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland was inspired by the response which broke all previous Recfishwest survey records.

“We received 5,957 responses – making it the biggest response to a single-issue fishing survey there has ever been in WA’s history!” said Dr Rowland.

“Not only is the quantity of responses impressive, but the quality of feedback was also extremely high, demonstrating people care deeply for these fish,”

“Those who responded spent 10 minutes on average providing feedback adding up to 992 hours – the equivalent of six months of work, a truly amazing effort!”

“This shows we have an active fishing sector who are wanting to engage in critical issues like this that are going to have a real bearing on the future sustainability of these fish.”

Where to from here?

It is going to take time to sift through the thousands of responses to ensure we capture a truly representative picture of collective views and assess each of the many great ideas that have been suggested.

Over the next few weeks, Recfishwest will undertake this work and report back on the survey results once analysed in full.  Recfishwest’s West Coast Demersal Expert Working Group has met several times and will assess ideas and feedback from the survey to help formulate advice about preferred future management options.

This advice will be provided to DPIRD to inform the development of management options DPIRD will take to formal public consultation in July.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CONSULTATION PROCESS HERE

In the meantime, we will continue to keep fishers up to date with any developments.

Exmouth’s King Reef latest underwater images show a thriving marine wonderland established in less than four years

They are spectacular images of a colourful, thriving marine ecosystem – habitats teeming with abundant fish, algae and coral.

These images taken and shared with Recfishwest by award-winning underwater photographer Violeta J. Brosig of Blue Media Exmouth show in glorious technicolour what a healthy oasis of marine life Exmouth’s King Reef has become.

“I love diving and taking these photos to highlight the beauty and biodiversity of King Reef and Exmouth Gulf,” said Violeta, who moved to Australia from her native Brazil in 1999 to pursue her passion for underwater photography.  

Diving in and photographing the reef was such a truly awe-inspiring experience for Violeta, she felt compelled to share the images with us to share with you!  

Yet less than four years ago – all that was there was featureless, barren seafloor! 

How the reef modules looked just after deployment….

That was before a collaboration between the Exmouth local community,  Recfishwest, BHP, NERA, DPIRD, Subcon and Curtin University, lead to the deployment of six large, repurposed steel structures along with almost 50 concrete modules on two acres of barren seafloor, roughly the equivalent of five footy ovals.  The integration of the steel structures and concrete modules provides a complex habitat that supports a diverse ecological community in a once featureless area. 

Euan Harvey, Professor of Marine Science – Curtin University, has researched the impacts of artificial reefs on fish productivity and biodiversity. “With enhanced levels of species richness and abundances beyond that of adjacent sand, sponge garden and natural reef habitats, King Reef illustrates the positive environmental potential of artificial reefs,” he said.  

Subsequently, King Reef has rapidly become the fastest developing artificial reef in Australia with more than 100 fish species monitored on it including red emperor, golden trevally, and even sailfish patrolling the topwater. 

How they look now! A stunning example of how repurposed artificial reefs really can create thriving new marine habitats resulting in abundant, healthy fish and coral populations. 

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland commented, “It is sensational to see just how much marine life has flourished on King Reef from these awesome pictures that Violeta has taken and is a great testament to all the hard work of the Exmouth community and all the other partners involved in the project. 

“From our experience of helping to deploy seven other artificial reef projects across WA, and the body of scientific evidence that is now out there, we knew that it wouldn’t be long before King Reef would become populated by marine life. What we couldn’t anticipate was just how quickly that would happen and the richness of the biodiversity that has established itself there. 

“It’s a fantastic example of how repurposed structures like these can create thriving new marine habitats and support a huge abundance of fish and other species and fantastic sustainable fishing that goes with it bringing benefits to the local community and economy as well as the environment.” 

King Reef location below- find out more about this and the State’s network of artificial reefs here 

 

Salmon Slam 2022 second phase: more action, more salmon and more prizes!

Phase two of the 2022 Salmon Slam saw some great catches of 80cm-plus salmon with many being caught on the south-west coast and with reports now popping up of salmon being caught as far north as Mandurah!

The final phase is in full swing due to end on 30 May, with heaps of prizes still up for grabs with mouth-watering prospect of the overall winner prize of a salmon fishing pack valued at more than $3,000, including a Stella SWC 5000XG and a Coltsniper BB S 9ft6″ rod, generously provided by our Salmon Slam partners Shimano.

There’s also a ‘yak, a drone and a bunch of other cool prizes all on the table, so if you haven’t downloaded the Salmon Slam app from the Apple Store or Google Play store, do it now and get out there before the Slam competition ends!

Callan Kezich with one of the smaller model salmon you can find, seems he left the big ones in one the brag mat!

Phase two winners

This month, the South West’s Callan Kezich dominated the leaderboard with his four combined salmon measuring a length of 3.41m of fish – all 80cm-plus fish! For his efforts, he took out the Overall Phase Two Winner title, landing himself a Shimano prize combo valued at more than $650, including a Stradic FL 5000 XG and a Maikuro ll 9ft spinning rod. Great work, Callan!

Callan heard about the competition last year from one of his mates and thought he’d try give it a crack this year.

“We mostly chased salmon by four-wheel driving along the beach and spotting schools, if we couldn’t see them, we’d park up, find a good gutter and drop some baits. The four longest were caught on a mixture of lures and baits,” he said.

This, of course, is one of salmon fishing’s great appeals  – you can catch them on a wide variety of methods. If you’re looking to find out more about rigs or what lure to use, check out our ilovefishing article here and also former Recfishwest comms officer Zach Relph’s tackle guide article here.

 

The kids are alright

Some anglers maybe prone to a little exaggeration might claim their latest catch was “as big as me.” for these young guns though that’s not far from the truth!

Charlie (left) and Julian Emanuele (right) with some stonker salmon!

Charlie Emanuele and his brother Julian took out the random junior prize category and are going to have to figure out how to share their prize – shouldn’t be too hard though given it includes awesome goodies such as a $200 Compleat Angler Nedlands voucher and a $100 Tackle pack.

For the past two years his family have made an annual salmon pilgrimage to Albany and always try to go salmon fishing during the holidays.

“They were both hooked after last year when Charlie caught first one,” said proud dad Robert. “They were very determined when it was a little slow-going and when it was time to go home, they told me ‘Good fishermen never gives up!’” Apparently both lads enjoy the hard fight and were nearly pulled into the water with these two big dogs!

Shannon and his son, Jack Conduit

Like father like son love salmon

Shannon Conduit took out the best photo category for phase two with this awesome image of him and his son landing an awesome salmon. The framing, the awesome quality, and the story it tells by itself goes to show how important salmon is to the West Australian community.

“Fishing for Salmon is something I live for, it’s my favourite style of fishing… I love watching 5 – 10 salmon torpedo straight for a lure” Shannon explained, so he was nothing less than ecstatic when his son managed to catch his first one. Shannon loves the south-west scenery and chasing salmon around Yeagerup all the way to Eagle Bay. The enjoyment of the outdoors and the fishing experience is something he wanted to share with his son as he mentioned:

Amazing work, congratulations on winning a $100 Halco tackle pack!

Sam Attwater took out the Random Adult category and wins a $200 Anglers Fishing World voucher and a $100 Compleat Angler Nedlands voucher. Congratulations, Sam!

Congratulations, mate!

Sam Attwater, the lucky adult random prize winner for this phase’s competition!

 

Big thanks

A big thanks to our Salmon Slam partners Shimano and Western Angler and sponsors. Your support helps make the Salmon Slam one of the biggest fishing comps in the country.

Scott’s Species – permit, a fly fishers’ dream catch

Permit, aka snub-nosed dart, are sort of on my bucket list, but at the same time aren’t really. Confused? Try being me! We have two species of permit in WA, writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan, and they are generally found from Coral Bay north in inshore waters.

Species: Permit, Trachinotus blochii/Trachinotus anak

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Round head, forked tail, yellowish tinge on fins.

Blair Sewell with a permit from the Exmouth Gulf. 📸Ningaloo Fly Fishing

A renowned sportfish worldwide, they are not a fish I have ever sought out to catch specifically, although many anglers, especially fly fishers, are obsessed with them.

I don’t usually think about catching them until I see one and I then think it would be cool to cross them off my list.

However, by that time it’s usually way too late as you need to be on the ball to successfully catch permit, well so it appears anyway.

Most of the permit I have seen have been around Exmouth, in fact last year I spotted quite a few around Wilderness Island.

They weren’t feeding at the time, but rather just riding the current out of one creek system.

I also remember seeing huge numbers of permit in one creek on the east side of Exmouth Gulf years ago.

I thought they were golden trevally at first and wondered why they wouldn’t look at my lures, but eventually it dawned on me that this creek was full of permit.

Permit are a renowned sportfish worldwide!

I sometimes wonder about fishing there for them one day but it hasn’t happened yet.

I have been told an outgoing tide Exmouth is a prime spot for permit fishing and they can be caught in the gulf and along the west coast. However, it is the former location that seems to be best for them and there are several sportfishing guides who can expertly put their clients onto permit.

They are able to spot permit on the shallow flats of the gulf to enable their clients to cast to them.

Broome is another spot that is noted for them, and I can recall watching a great video called, from memory, Heads and Tails, which showed shore anglers chasing big schools of them from the beach just north of Broome.

There is also an amazing little fishery near the jetty, where permit will take flies off the surface in summer.

When small crabs are being pulled out of Dampier Creek, the permit will rise to the surface to grab them and a floating crab fly can be used, although I am told this fishery is not as good as it once was.

Leigh Freestone was more than happy with this Exmouth Gulf permit. 📸 Ningaloo Flyfishing

I have seen permit in other locations around WA, including at the Rowley Shoals and the Cocos Islands, but certainly Broome and Exmouth would be two of the better locations to try if you were dead keen on catching one, with Port Hedland also popular with some anglers.

They are also found in decent numbers around Dampier. Tide is not important for permit as they will move in and out with the current, but the key is to find where they are at any point in time.

Fly fishing is by far the most popular way to target them with an eight-weight outfit ideal.

The lightest leader possible is recommended, and the smaller the fly the better when casting at fish.

Casting accuracy that will enable you to present the fly to the feeding fish is a great advantage.

Permit are usually eating molluscs such as mussels and cockles and offer great sight fishing opportunities, but matching the hatch is usually important.

However, they are also opportunistic feeders and crab flies are a very popular option.

Small soft plastics will work on them, as will Cranka Crabs with upgraded trebles, and you could also try one of the new mussel lures that are taking the bream world by storm!

Permit caught in WA are generally in the 5-7kg range and anything bigger than that is a very worthy capture indeed.

Tom Howe with a permit from somewhere in the Pilbara. 📸 Angus Line